SFA University

June 6, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. Greg Grant, research associate with the SFA Gardens’ Pineywoods Native Plant Center, will present “Show Me Your Garden and I Shall Tell You What You Are: Twenty Years Creating One View.”
Grant, who is an award-winning horticulturist, writer, conservationist and seventh-generation Texan, will relate two decades of planning the landscape in front of his restored family home during his lecture. He lives in his grandparents’ restored dogtrot farmhouse, where he tends a small cottage garden, his Rebel Eloy Emanis Pine Savanna and Bird Sanctuary, a flock of laying hens, and terriers Acer, Lizzie, Mollie and Sonny.
He is author of “In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature, and Family” and “Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening,” and is co-author of “Heirloom Gardening in the South,” “Texas Home Landscaping” and “The Southern Heirloom Garden.” He is currently finishing “The Rose Rustlers” with William C. Welch and Texas A&M Press. He also writes the popular “In Greg’s Garden” column for Texas Gardener magazine and writes “Greg’s Ramblings,” a monthly blog at arborgate.com.
Grant has degrees in floriculture and horticulture both from Texas A&M University, and he has attended post-graduate classes at Louisiana State University, North Carolina State University and SFA. His garden, farm and plant introductions have been featured in many magazines and newspapers, including Southern Living, Woman’s Day, Texas Gardener, Neil Sperry’s Gardens, The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times and The San Antonio Express News.
The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month at SFA’s Pineywoods Native Plant Center. A rare plant raffle will be held after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series fund are always appreciated.
Parking is available at the nearby Raguet Elementary School, 2428 Raguet St., with continual shuttle service to the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building.
For more information, call (936) 468-1832 or email grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

The SFA School of Theatre’s popular dragon character, Schlaftnicht, always draws a crowd at the annual Blueberry Festival in downtown Nacogdoches.June 6, 2016 - Students in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre will promote the SummerStage Festival’s children’s show at the Texas Blueberry Festival June 11 in downtown Nacogdoches.

Theatre students will appear in costumes portraying popular characters from fairy tales and children’s stories. Children (and adults) will have the opportunity to talk with the students and take photos with them, according to Angela Bacarisse, professor of design and arts management at SFA. The School of Theatre’s trademark dragon character, Schlaftnicht, from the children’s show “Trudi and the Minstrel,” performed the summer of 2005, will make his annual Blueberry Festival appearance.

“We have a lot of fun just dressing up and seeing how excited the kids are when they see us and get to talk to their favorite characters,” Bacarisse said.

Students will be promoting the upcoming SFA SummerStage Festival, which kicks off Friday, June 24, and runs through July 16. The family friendly festival will feature the children’s favorite "A Year With Frog and Toad" by Robert and Willie Reale. Also in the festival lineup is something for the adults, "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," a witty comedy by actor, screenwriter and stand-up comic Steve Martin.

Bacarisse, the director of the smash hit "Spamalot" and the summer kids' favorites "The Emperor's New Clothes: The Musical" and "How I Became a Pirate," directs "A Year With Frog and Toad,” which is based on the books by Arnold Lobel. The musical follows the story of the beloved suburban amphibians who leap to tuneful life with irresistibly upbeat Frog lifting the spirits of his worrywart neighbor Toad.

The students perform at the Blueberry Festival each year to “let the community know that the SFA School of Theatre offers good quality family entertainment at affordable prices to our neighbors in Nacogdoches,” according to Bacarisse. Discount coupons for the SummerStage Festival will be distributed that day.

The costumed characters can be seen in front of The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House at 329 E. Main St. Theatre students will be selling crafts and doing face painting as a fundraiser.

For performance times and ticketing information for the SummerStage Festival, visit theatre.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. All performances are in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

June 1, 2016 -  More than 14,000 miles away in Bangalore, India, Stephen F. Austin State University graduate student Nandita Mehrotra puts the finishing touches on her thesis in preparation for its defense.

During the past few months, she has been studying patient-turnaround time at an outpatient cancer center in India and the role interior design plays in health care settings.
As a full-time employee in India, Mehrotra was able to complete her Master of Science in human sciences online in May through SFA’s School of Human Sciences within the James I. Perkins College of Education.
“The ability to pursue a master’s degree in the U.S. while living in India was wonderful,” Mehrotra said. “I was able to complete my degree only because it was available online.”
Heather Catton, director of international studies and programs at SFA, agrees offering courses online provides international students with great opportunities.
“For students like Nandita, who are working full time and/or have a family, they can’t drop everything and move to another country to earn their degree,” Catton said. “When a degree can be offered completely online, it’s a great option for students because they have access to the academic content. They can continue to work, live at home, and still have a U.S. degree and a different perspective.”
Mehrotra said she enjoyed the experience.
“It was very interesting to interact with faculty members and students halfway around the world and understand their way of thinking, working and expressing thoughts, ideas and analyses,” Mehrotra said.
Through Desire 2 Learn, SFA’s online course-delivery system, Mehrotra worked with other SFA students and faculty members. Her coursework consisted of the completion of specialized health care readings and textbooks, performance of on-site facility analyses and weekly interaction with renowned leaders in the health care design industry, which she described as interesting and helpful.
Mehrotra surveyed patients for 12 days for her thesis to obtain an understanding of patient experiences and satisfaction levels. She mapped the movement of 19 patients in the facility and interviewed 15 health care providers and staff members. She also studied patient, doctor and staff member perspectives on patient turnaround time.
“The Collaborate feature in Desire 2 Learn is a wonderful tool for online education and really makes the educational/classroom interaction easy and enjoyable,” Mehrotra said. “I was able to attend a significant percentage of online study sessions because of the difference between Indian Standard Time and U.S. Central Time. When it was morning at SFA, it was late evening in Bangalore, and I was home from work then.”
Dr. Mitzi Perritt, professor of interior design and graduate coordinator in SFA’s School of Human Sciences, met with Mehrotra weekly via Collaborate in D2L and said it was as if they were in the same classroom.
“Nandita has been a special student. She is eager to learn, very respectful and produces high-quality work. It has been an amazing experience for me to work with her as her major professor and teacher,” Perritt said. “Our relationship is a close one, and we have enjoyed working together.”

May 31, 2016 -  Stephen F. Austin State University’s Nelson Rusche College of Business has announced former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will serve as guest speaker for the college’s inaugural Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series on Nov. 3.

“We are so pleased to launch the Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series by featuring as our speaker such a notable and accomplished businessman and politician,” said Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of SFA’s Nelson Rusche College of Business. “While selecting a speaker, we worked diligently to bring to SFA an individual who fit Mr. Rusche’s vision for the series, as well as our college’s Learn, Launch, Lead mission.”
Through a question-and-answer format, Bush will discuss various topics focusing on leadership and business issues.
“Mr. Bush’s business acumen combined with his extensive policy experience should yield a unique perspective attendees will find both interesting and useful,” Bisping said. “His substantial and varied leadership background will be especially beneficial to SFA students as they work toward achieving their academic and professional goals.”
Bush was elected the 43rd governor of Florida in November 1998 and re-elected in 2002 to become the state’s first two-term Republican governor. He is the son of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush and the brother of the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush.
Born in Midland, Texas, Bush grew up in Houston. In 1973, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Latin American Studies. Bush moved to Florida in 1981, where he started a small real estate development company, which grew to become the largest, full-service commercial real estate company in South Florida.

In 1987 and 1988, Bush held his first government post, serving as Florida’s secretary of commerce under Bob Martinez, Florida’s 40th governor. As secretary of commerce, Bush promoted Florida’s business climate to the world.
Later, Bush founded the nonprofit Foundation for Florida’s Future, which joined forces with the Urban League of Greater Miami to establish one of the state’s first charter schools. He also co-authored “Profiles in Character,” a book about 14 of Florida’s civic heroes—people making a difference without making news. Additionally, he co-authored “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution.”
As governor, Bush focused on reforming education. Under his governance, Florida students made the greatest gains in achievement, and Florida became one of a handful of states to narrow the achievement gap. In addition, Bush cut taxes every year, and Florida led the nation in job growth seven out of eight years.
After serving as governor, Bush led his own successful consulting business, Jeb Bush and Associates. His clients ranged from small technology start-ups to well-known Fortune 500 companies. He also served as the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national foundation focused on education reform, and he was the co-chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and chair of the National Consortium Center.
He authored “Reply All,” in October 2015, which tells the story of his governorship through email exchanges with his staff members, the media and the Floridians he served.
Bush ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015. He currently lives in Miami, Florida, with his wife Columba. The couple has three children and four grandchildren.

May 25, 2016 — The addition of a crop science course into the core curriculum has accelerated the need to build a 7,200-square-foot, three-bay, gutter-connected greenhouse totaling $150,000 on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

The new facility will provide the SFA Gardens with a much-needed area for plant production and student-driven research projects, said SFA Gardens Director Dr. David Creech, as well as assist horticulture and forestry students in obtaining real-world experience in an industry-standard greenhouse.

“Our current area is already inadequate to house the space needs we have for numerous horticulture labs,” said Dawn Stover, SFA Gardens research associate, “including crop science, fruits and vegetables, plant propagation, nursery management, greenhouse management, etc., as well as soil science experiments, graduate student projects, an active horticulture club, and plants for the SFA Gardens and the Sprout Garden.”

The greenhouse will be used to grow plants for special projects and research. It also will be used to grow many of the plants available for purchase at fundraiser plant sales. Stover said the SFA Gardens also would benefit by incorporating many of the plants grown there into its landscapes.

“With the addition of crop science into the core, we have the potential to see 150 additional students each semester,” said Stover. “We simply need more space to accommodate our growing program.”

To make a donation, call (936) 468-5406; visit www.sfasu.edu/give; or mail checks, write “greenhouse” in the memo line, to P.O. Box 6092, SFA Station, Nacogdoches, Texas 75962-6092.

Among the participants in this year’s ImageMakers photography exhibition are, front, from left, Asiyah Brown, De'Quavious Brooks, Storm Mackenzie, Laiyla Grant, Lakiyah Page, Ironeshia Jackson, and back, from left, Jade Vivas, Shatrya King and Daniela Hernandez.May 18, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The award-winning works of students participating in the Nacogdoches Boys & Girls Club’s ImageMakers photography program will be displayed in an exhibition that runs through June 11 at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

The exhibit was organized by the Nacogdoches Photographic Association and funded through a Community Outdoor Program grant provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife and administered by the gardens education staff at Stephen F. Austin State University, according to Elton Scifres, NPA member.

ImageMakers is a national program sponsored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to encourage members to learn and practice various photography methods, Scifres explained.

“The ultimate purpose is to provide children the opportunity to express themselves creatively, build confidence and learn new skills,” he said.

Winners in various categories in the local show will advance to competitions at the regional and national levels. The photographs in this exhibit are the result of six photo outing/training sessions. Thirteen Boys and Girls Club members participated and were mentored by members of NPA. William Nieberding, assistant professor in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art, juried the show.

Categories and winners included: Nature and Surroundings – Malaya Jackson, first place; Shatrya King, second place; Storm Mackenzie, third place. Portraits – Ironeshia Jackson, first place; Ja’Christopher Benton, second place; Lakiyah Page, third place. Culture – Jade Vivas, first place; Aniya Jackson, second place; Shatrya King, third place. Malaya Jackson’s entry was also named “Best in Show.”

The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. Gallery hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The exhibition can be seen during the Texas Blueberry Festival. For more information about this exhibition and others, call (936) 468-1131.

May 14, 2016 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Nelson Rusche College of Business recently announced the establishment of a new lecture series.

Stephen F. Austin State University’s Nelson Rusche College of Business recently announced the establishment of a new lecture series in honor of the college’s namesake, the late A. Nelson Rusche. The Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series is scheduled to premiere Nov. 3. Rusche graduated from SFA in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and served on the university’s Board of Regents for three years.In 2002, SFA’s College of Business was named in honor of A. Nelson Rusche, who endowed the college with a $5 million gift, which provides scholarships to students majoring in business and also supports other programs, including a distinguished lecture series.

The Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series is scheduled to premiere Nov. 3, and according to Dr. Timothy Bisping, dean of the Nelson Rusche College of Business, it will provide opportunities to bring scholars and business leaders to the SFA campus to discuss relevant issues.   

“The series will convey to our students and other members of the SFA and Nacogdoches communities ideas, insights and knowledge they might otherwise be unable to obtain without considerable expense,” Bisping said. “It also is a wonderful way to highlight the Nelson Rusche College of Business and our exceptional programs, students, and faculty and staff members.”

Bisping said Rusche, who graduated from SFA in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and served on the university’s Board of Regents for three years, had a clear vision for the series.

“Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rusche, I have learned a great deal from others about his integrity and desire to help SFA students succeed, and I am honored to have the privilege of bringing his vision to life,” Bisping said.

Bisping added the impact of Rusche’s generosity and guidance cannot be understated.

“The resources he made available to help attract and retain top students, provide special student-learning opportunities and pursue other crucial initiatives have allowed us to build upon the excellent programs already in place within the Rusche College of Business,” Bisping said.

Born in Appleby, Texas, Rusche served in the U.S. Army during World War II and received a Purple Heart for his service with the 43rd Infantry Division in New Guinea and the Philippines.

In 1951, Rusche purchased his first Gulf Oil service station and later became a commissioned agent. The A.N. Rusche Distributing Co. grew to be a 250-million-gallon-a-year distributor—Gulf Oil’s largest customer. Rusche later expanded his business to include automated car washes and convenience stores.

His distributing company received numerous awards and honors from the Texas Oil Marketers Association, now known as the Texas Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. He served as president of the association and was active in the Past Presidents’ Association. He was honored with the E.K. Bennett Award in 1996, making him the association’s “Man of the Year.”

Rusche passed away Sept. 17, 2013.

May 10, 2016 -  Christopher Talbot, director of the School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University, announced the recipients of SFA and Friends of the Visual Arts Scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year at the recent opening of the 33rd Annual Art Alliance Spring Show. More than $34,000 in scholarships was awarded.

Recipients included:

  • Tristan Brewster-Arnold, Cleveland junior, awarded a Patricia Roberdeau Mast Scholarship.
  • Sarah Jentsch, Etoile sophomore, awarded a Patricia Roberdeau Mast Scholarship.
  • Shelby Locklin, incoming freshman from Southlake, awarded a Regents Scholarship for housing.
  • Emily Attebery, incoming freshman from Tyler, awarded a Regents Scholarship for housing.
  • Gabriela Alejandra Hijar Soto, Creel, Mexico, graduate student, awarded the Piero Fenci Scholarship for Ceramic Arts.
  • Korey Burns, Grayson, Louisiana, graduate student, awarded the Eloise Chambers Adams Art Scholarship.
  • Jacob Moffett, Hockley sophomore, awarded the Robert Kinsell Art Scholarship and the John and Doris Daniel Art Scholarship.
  • Alexandra Rodrigues, Montoursville, Pennsylvania, graduate student, awarded the Brian Philip Joseph LaBarbera Memorial Art Scholarship, the Debbie Simpson/Terry Miller Memorial Art Scholarship and the Stephen Weeks Memorial Art Scholarship.
  • Amber Law, incoming freshman from Pasadena, awarded the Art Alliance Scholarship and the Diane, Casey and Court Fouts Art Scholarship.
  • Krystal Hornung, incoming sophomore from Garden City, Kansas, awarded the Elsie Arscott Art Scholarship.
  • Jacqueline Morales, Plano junior, awarded the Gary Q. Frields Art Scholarship.
  • Josh Welch, Nacogdoches junior, awarded the Gary Parker Art Scholarship.
  • Victoria Sturm, Katy senior, awarded the Charles D. Jones Art Scholarship.
  • Julia Lott, Rockwall sophomore, awarded the Melba Cranford Memorial Art Scholarship.
  • Bailey Idom, Nacogdoches graduate student, awarded the Snyder Family Art Scholarship.
  • Jordan Weaver, incoming freshman from Buda, awarded the Jack R. and Claudine W. McKinney Memorial Art Scholarship.
  • Sherry Snowden, Nacogdoches sophomore, awarded the Barbara Brown Shoenewolf Art Scholarship.
  • Jessica Massey, Center junior, awarded the E. Diane Ford Art Education Scholarship.
  • Carlton Herbert, Longview graduate student, awarded the Carolyn and Richard Skurla Graduate Scholarship.

Among the 2016-2017 SFA art scholarship recipients and School of Art faculty members are, from left, Tristan Brewster-Arnold; Josh Welch; Jacob Moffett; Alexandra Rodrigues; Gabriela Hijar; Christopher Talbot, director of the School of Art; Shaun Roberts, assistant professor and scholarship committee chair; Carlton Herbert; Victoria Sturm; Sarah Jentsch; Jill Carrington, professor and award certificate preparer; Jacqueline Morales; Julia Lott; and Sherry Snowden.

May 10, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University professors in several departments were recently awarded a second round of funding from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program totaling just over $1 million.

The Noyce program seeks to encourage talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and professionals to become K-12 STEM teachers.
“We are honored that the National Science Foundation values the work that we are doing with STEM teacher recruitment and support,” said Dr. Lesa Beverly, SFA professor of mathematics and statistics and principal investigator. “This is a collaborative project with a leadership team from mathematics, biology, and secondary education and educational leadership with 11 community college partners as well as with the Region 7 Education Service Center.“
SFA faculty members Dr. Keith Hubbard, professor of mathematics and statistics, Dr. Chrissy Cross, assistant professor of secondary education and educational leadership, and Dr. Dennis Gravatt, associate professor of biology, are also serving as co-principal investigators. Dr. Ray Darville, professor of sociology, is acting as the project evaluator to help ensure program impact and continued success.
“We are working together for a common goal,” Beverly said, “to recruit STEM majors into a teaching career by providing support, financial and otherwise, during their junior and senior years and as they transition from student to professional educator.”
The recent Noyce program award is the second phase of funding. The original award was made in August 2011 for a total amount just under $1.5 million. With the new award, the program will be carried forward until 2021.
“I am so proud of the 20 scholars from Phase I of the project,” Beverly said. “Each scholar was awarded $30,000 in scholarship funds. In some cases, the students would not have been able to complete their degrees without this financial support. Most will tell you, however, that community support was truly what has made the most significant impact on their lives.
“The scholars have had the advantage of the multi-mentoring strategy employed in the project,” she added. “Our mentoring team consists of the faculty leadership team, a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience, and master teachers from neighboring districts. In addition, the scholars have formed lasting relationships with each other as well as with other education professionals they have met through the program.”
Ten T4 scholars are now teaching as a result of the first round of funding. Six will graduate in May and are being sought by school districts, and two are in graduate school.
“They are an amazing group, and we receive feedback from their supervisors asking for more just like them,” Beverly said. “Principals tell us that our scholars are ready to hit the ground running and are more advanced than most first-year teachers. From the researchers’ point of view, this project has led to three published journal articles and a wealth of additional data. Phase II extends this research effort.
“Phase II will provide scholarships and support for 20 additional students and also will allow us to continue to study the impact of the first 20 scholars,” Beverly said. “In addition to the scholarships, we have two additional recruitment initiatives, including the Job Shadow Experience, which was a success during Phase I. Ninety students from across the state will have the opportunity to shadow master STEM teachers for a full week to provide a realistic picture of the teaching career.”
Phase II also will serve as the impetus for a new initiative that will begin in the fall, she added. Two new courses are in development for SFA STEM freshmen wishing to explore teaching as a career option.
“Funds from the T4 project will provide 80 students tuition reimbursements for these two courses, which we are calling STEM Teacher Test Drives,” Beverly said. “This is truly an exciting time in STEM teacher recruitment and preparation!”
This material is based upon work supported from the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1556983. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

May 5, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Looking for weekend plans? Stephen F. Austin State University has the answer.
SFA’s James I. Perkins College of Education offers a unique doctoral degree program in educational leadership on weekends to help full-time working individuals further their education.
Dr. Patrick Jenlink, coordinator of SFA’s doctoral degree program in educational leadership, said SFA’s program stands out because of its weekend and face-to-face delivery, two aspects Jenlink said are important to prospective students.
With more than 150 program graduates, SFA’s program moves beyond the confines of an online or traditional program, Jenlink said.
“If you want to prepare for a future as an educational leader, a future that is yet to be written, consider selecting our program,” Jenlink said. “If you are interested in a great learning experience unlike any that you have had, an experience that will prepare you for working in a field like educational leadership where the challenges of the next decade and beyond will be greater than the ones we currently face, this program will prepare you to meet those challenges head on.”
Faculty members use a variety of instructional delivery methods, which bring students out of the classroom and place them in different learning experiences, Jenlink said. For example, SFA offers study abroad opportunities as well as activity-oriented experiences in East Texas such as ropes courses, canoeing and other field-based course activities that combine curriculum with experiential-learning opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to present research and professional papers at state, regional and national conferences.
Each summer the program admits between 10 to 17 students, which makes the student-to-faculty ratio four students to every doctoral faculty member.
“Another factor in our success is our student-to-faculty ratio, which we believe is very critical,” Jenlink said. “This ratio provides for high-quality academic advisement and direct contact time for our students to meet their needs.”
The program also uses a cohort model, meaning all the students enrolled in the program work through the classes together.
“The cohort members share a common identity as a cohort and find opportunity to engage academically and socially in forming community bonds,” Jenlink said. “The power of a cohort model for delivery of the doctoral degree program is the sense of belonging that each doctoral student has with his/her cohort members.”
In November 1996, Jenlink joined the SFA faculty and began working with Dr. Tom Franks, former dean of SFA’s College of Education, and the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership faculty members to establish this program. SFA’s program is designed with an emphasis on the education leader as a scholar-practitioner.
“The term scholar-practitioner is the foundation of our doctoral program. It holds many meanings in relationship to being an educational leader,” Jenlink said. “First and foremost, a scholar-practitioner is an individual who recognizes the importance of informing his/her practice with inquiry and examining leadership practice in the day-to-day activity of the educational setting.”
In addition to the doctoral degree emphasizing educational leadership, the program offers four degree concentrations, including superintendent certification, higher education administration, curriculum leadership and research.
The doctoral program has a nine-hour elective and a six-hour internship requirement. Additionally, academic advisers work with doctoral students to select an internship that complements the student’s career goals.
For more information, visit http://www.sfasu.edu/secondaryed/106.asp or contact Jenlink at (936) 468-1756.